Good Mood - a natural approach

authentic-smile-good-moodSo many New Zealanders are now taking some kind of anti-depressant medication – I think it is around 1 in 20 or higher – so I thought I would do a brief write up this week on how to achieve good mood naturally.

There are the basic steps of having a good environment and the people around you being uplifting or helping you go well in life rather than pulling or getting you down. Changing your environment and resolving conflicts through communication are all important for happiness.

If you have a good environment and some stress that you have mostly sorted, but still feel down or low in energy there can be some nutritional reasons that we can then handle to help you return to your best!

Mood can drop down from a nutritional medicine perspective during times of:

  • Hormonal change – puberty, on oral contraception pill, post pregnancy, menopause, pre-menstrually, aging.
  • Nutrient depletion – lack of key mood nutrients like protein amino acids, B vitamins, essential fatty acids, minerals can all create low mood – during illness, surgery, stress.
  • Intake of drugs, medicines, anaesthetics, alcohol, stimulants.

Let’s take a quick look at some mood lifting nutrients and hormones and herbs.

St John’s Wort is the one most people know and sometimes people take it when feeling down. It works in a similar way in the brain to anti-depressants and is a mild herbal mood lifter that can take a while – perhaps a few weeks to work.

I see people use St John’s Wort, but I find the quickest mood lifters seem to be the natural amino acid formulas for mood that contain substances like 5Hydroxy Tryptophan (5HTP) or ones like Tyrosine, Tryptophan, Phenylalanine and so on. There are a great range of these Good Mood capsules from Clinicians you can get over the counter and try. They help pre-menstrual or hormonal grief or low mood feelings pretty fast; especially if you have been off your food or not absorbing many proteins.

Try the 5HTP Mood Tonic or the Good Mood supplement range for 1-2 weeks and see how you go.

One proviso (word of warning) is if you are taking anti-depressants you shouldn’t take St John’s Wort or 5HTP as a supplement as these can interact and over “serotonin-ise” your system.

If you are not on medication and feel more grief or low mood for no good reason try 5HTP, amino acid formulas for mood or even SAMe which is a nutrient that creates good mood through the liver pathways of metabolism. Try one of these for 2-3 weeks and you should notice a change and add more protein or amino acid protein smoothies or drinks into your diet.

Dairy can be a bit depressing so see if you can use a rice or pea or other plant amino acid base protein powder for your smoothies rather than lots of dairy whey powder. Dairy and gluten can be a bit like opiates in your brain system.

Eggs are rich in protein and easy to digest especially if the yolks aren’t overcooked.

Small oily fish like sardines have energy producing Coenzyme Q10.

Healthy fats are key for good mood.

If vegetarian, try an algae derived omega 3 at a good high dose or cold pressed fresh plant oils from coconut, avocado, olive sources or organic butter.

If non-vegetarian try fish oils or krill oils (rich in phospholipids – key nutrient for cell health) to help your brain and adrenals and glandular systems create all the good mood hormones.

Even consider adding some organic animal fats and organic animal liver, or organ meats for nutrients and essential amino acids to your weekly diet. A bone or meat or chicken broth with skin and bones of the chicken helps if you cook slowly then add some vegetables, sea salt to taste and butter or ghee for mood. Try drink the liquid broth several times a day if really down to help lift your mood and amino acids. Turkey, chicken are both rich in tryptophan.

Omega 3 (fish oils, krill oils) alone can lift mood and make you feel great. For added energy consider some Vitamin E added to the oils to help oxygenate your body and help any hormonal changes such as menopausal hot flushes.

Organic butter or ghee (refined butter) is really good for mood. Try some on gluten free crackers or cook your fish or vegetables in ghee or butter and some coconut oil for good mood and a healthy brain.

Spices like chilli, cinnamon, turmeric and ginger all warm your body up and you can add kelp powder or sea vegetables to your foods for a boost of your thyroid to help good mood.

If you love cheese – it is rich in tyrosine – fermented as cottage cheese or a little parmesan grated. You can mix cottage cheese with some cold pressed flax seed oil and some sea salt and kelp could lift mood. Don’t do this if dairy intolerant or if dairy makes you congested, allergic and down – see earlier warning on dairy acting like opiates in the body.

Minerals, minerals, minerals!

Magnesium and zinc are both used in over 300 places in the body and help with mood and energy. Consider getting a good magnesium citrate or a zinc picolinate supplement like the Thorne range online or from a health practitioner to help mood and energy. You don’t make good mood hormones without zinc and B6. Liquid minerals or a good trace sea mineral could really help your mood.

Studies in Germany show that most people with low mood respond when simply given regular B complex vitamins; therefore, how about trying a good strong B complex each morning with breakfast to see how you go with your mood. B6, B1, B3 are all incredibly important for mood and hormonal health.

The adrenal glands don’t function without B vitamins especially B5 (pantothenic acid). Folic acid deficiency can create depression. Vitamin B12 deficiency can create low energy.

Iron deficiency can create low energy and aching body.

Lastly the fastest mood changes I ever see are when I boost Vitamin D to good levels in someone with a low mild or even severe Vitamin D deficiency – especially after or during winter. Vitamin D really helps mood, energy, immunity and helps gut health and absorption of the other minerals so is key to restoring good mood and energy.
Sunshine, exercise, sea minerals, healthy fats, B vitamins, amino acids –healthy proteins are all important to your good mood and good hormones.

I can help you with a good holistic check and blood tests to go over these key points.

Don’t forget to keep up your cultured or fermented foods to keep a healthy gut bacterial probiotic colony inside your body - as the gut bacteria number in their trillions and create more serotonin than the brain and are very important to health, your immune system and your good mood.

On that note remember to get a good night’s sleep with some magnesium and look forward to some fresh air and exercise tomorrow and trying out some of these great nutrients!